2021 review, App Store changes paused, Instagram goes to Congress

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps mobile OS news, the latest in mobile apps and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with record numbers of downloads and consumer spending on both iOS and the Google Play Store in 2021, according to the latest report this week. App Annie says global spending on iOS and Google Play is up to $135 billion in 2021, and that figure is likely to be higher when its annual report including third-party app stores in China is released next year. Consumers downloaded 10 billion more apps this year than in 2020, reaching nearly 140 billion in new installs, it found.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass free time – they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined valuation of $544 billion, 6.5 times higher than companies without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion into mobile companies — a figure that was up 27% year-on-year.

This Week in Apps provides a way to keep up with this fast-growing industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup funding, mergers and acquisitions, and tips about new apps and games. , Very.

App economy to reach $133-135 billion in 2021
This week, Sensor Tower and App Annie both released their year-end projections on the app economy in 2021. Sensor Tower is predicting that, by the end of the year, Apple’s App Store and Google Play will have a combined record consumer spending of $133. billion and 143.6 billion downloads. Its report first surfaced and we covered it here on TechCrunch. We also have App Annie’s report in our hands today.

App Annie estimates slightly higher than Sensor Tower on consumer spend, but lower on downloads. App Annie says global consumers will spend a record $135 billion on the App Store and Google Play in 2021, up from $112 billion in 2020. However, it reports 140 billion new app installs instead of 143.6 billion.

The firm also found that iOS spend tops Android spend. It notes that 65 cents in every app economy dollar is now spent by Apple users. And gamers spend the most. They will have contributed about 60% of iOS revenue and about 80% of Google Play revenue in 2021. Overall, gaming contributed approximately $90 billion to total global spending in 2021.

App Annie also saw many of the same trends as Sensor Tower, including revenue growth in the non-gaming categories, particularly entertainment and social apps — the former growing to $12 billion next year, or double that by 2020.

In terms of app downloads, India was the top market, with both stores accounting for 20% of global downloads, followed by the US. (9%), then there was Brazil (8%).

App Annie chose TikTok as the top “breakout” app for consumer spending throughout the year. (It’s No. 2 on App Annie’s “Breakout” chart that ranks the apps that have seen the biggest change in the past 12 months.) But TikTok is affecting other apps, too. For example, a video editing app called CapCut – a popular TikTok editing tool – was the number 1 breakout app by downloads.

App Annie’s report focuses more on “breakout” apps and games, rather than traditional top app downloads and consumer spending. It’s an interesting way to look at the data because it indicates more newcomers and faster risers, but it doesn’t tell you which were the “biggest” apps of the year. Full report is here.

Apple will no longer have to implement changes to its in-app purchase system and App Store guidelines, according to a judge’s ruling in a court battle with Epic Games. Apple largely won that case, as the court ruled that Apple was not operating as a monopoly.

But the company was ordered to stop app developers from adding links that pointed to other ways for users to pay for their in-app purchases outside the App Store. Both Apple and Epic appealed the original decision – Epic because it was not successful with its large antitrust claims, and Apple because it disagreed with this aspect of the ruling on in-app purchases.

Apple originally gave it until December 9 to update its App Store policies, but asked the court to stay the injunction regarding changes to its in-app purchase guidelines until a decision on appeal is made. Apple had earlier tried to argue its case for adjournment but the lower court rejected the motion. However, its latest effort, the U.S. Open to the Ninth Circuit.

Court of Apple, when Apple argued that, among other things, it would have to come up with a whole new system for commissioning purchases that took place outside the App Store. Yes, that’s right – Apple doesn’t think that allowing app developers to point to their websites for payment means it still can’t make the cut. (After all, hasn’t Google decided to do this in South Korea?)

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